Jury selection in Ga. election interference trials begins Friday

450 jurors summoned for Donald Trump allies Sidney Powell, Kenneth Chesebro
Published: Oct. 18, 2023 at 8:22 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 18, 2023 at 10:34 AM CDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Jury selection in American history’s first criminal trials with direct ties to an ex-president’s alleged attempts to overturn an election will begin Friday in Atlanta.

A five-month trial is expected for Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell, two of the 19 co-defendants in Donald Trump’s historic Fulton County indictment, according to Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee.

During a Monday hearing, McAfee said 450 potential jurors have been summoned to appear at 7 a.m. on Friday, who will also then fill out questionnaires that will be uploaded electronically later in the day.

Both Powell and Chesebro filed motions asking for a speedy trial, motions that were eventually approved by McAfee, who is presiding over the massive case. McAfee, who is presiding over the case, decided Trump and his other 16 co-defendants will be tried together at a later date that has yet to be determined.

Trump and 18 others are charged with participating in an alleged criminal conspiracy designed to overturn Georgia’s lawful 2020 presidential election results. The massive, racketeering-related indictment was announced in August by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.

Chesebro and Powell are both former Trump campaign attorneys.

Prosecutors have said the attorney worked with Georgia Republicans in the weeks after the November 2020 election at the direction of Trump’s campaign. Chesebro worked on the coordination and execution of a plan to have 16 Georgia Republicans sign a certificate declaring Trump won and declaring themselves the state’s “duly elected and qualified” electors.

Powell was part of a group who met at the South Carolina home of conservative attorney Lin Wood in November 2020 “for the purpose of exploring options to influence the results of the November 2020 elections in Georgia and elsewhere,” prosecutors have said.

Wood, who’s licensed in Georgia, said Powell asked him to help find Georgia residents to serve as plaintiffs in lawsuits contesting the state’s election results. Additionally, emails and documents obtained through subpoenas in an unrelated lawsuit have shown that Powell was involved in arranging for a computer forensics team to travel to rural Coffee County, about 200 miles southeast of Atlanta, to copy data and software from elections equipment there in January 2021.

Willis had been seeking to try all of the co-defendants in one trial, an effort that was brought to a screeching halt when McAfee agreed to allow Powell and Chesebro to be tried separately from the others named in Willis’ indictment.

McAfee has recently ruled that attorneys for Powell and Chesebro can question the grand jurors who handed down the historic indictments.

“The Court will guide and maintain oversight over these interviews,” McAfee’s ruling said, and questions to the grand jurors must be submitted within the next three days.

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